April 7, 2014

MD3 Notebook: Cortland Not the Panicking Type

by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com | Coyne Archive | Twitter

"Mike knows how to play the game and he’s an unselfish player," said Cortland head coach Steve Beville about junior middie Mike Cantelli (above) after he dished out five assists in the Red Dragons win over Plattsburgh. "He was finding guys open. He is known a little bit more as a shooter and going to the cage, but he’s an unselfish player and he found the open man [Saturday]. (John Strohsacker)

Steve Beville isn't a panicky type of guy. There are plenty of characteristics that he'll willingly lay claim to, but he's not a guy who's going to start hyperventilating when the going gets a little rough for his Cortland team.

That's why he scoffs at the notion that there might have been some alarm on the Red Dragons sideline when they fell behind 8-3 late in the second quarter to SUNYAC rival Plattsburgh on Saturday.

"There was never any kind of panic. I don't think that's the right term," Beville said. "We've been in close games this year, and in year's past we've come back and won a lot of close games. But certainly when it got to 8-3, we had to take a timeout and remind the guys that they had to play with more of a sense of urgency and pick up the pace of play."

The call was answered.

Cortland scored three goals in the final two minutes of the second quarter to trim the halftime margin to 8-6 and provide the Dragons with the momentum that would eventually carry them to an 11-10 win.

Beville didn't get jittery because he could see the writing on the wall.

"If you look at the stats, we took 50 shots," he said. "We were able to get that three-goal run heading into the second half, but we knew we were going to start scoring more. We just weren't putting enough of them on cage and testing their goalie. But we were dominating in shots taken. We thought it was just a matter of time before they started going in."

Beville is also quick to credit the Cardinals for their role in giving Cortland problems and making the game as tight as it was.

"They are just better than they've been," Beville said of Plattsburgh. "That's the biggest thing. They have more talent and they were able to execute offensively, especially with [Brendan] Damm, their lefty attackman [who scored five goals]. He had a great game against us; he shot the ball very well. I don't think there were any wrinkles. They are just a good team."

The Red Dragons' ability to come back against Plattsburgh was helped by the grind they've gone through so far this season. Because Cortland has gone 31-0 during the past two regular seasons, it's odd that it already has three losses – the most regular season defeats since Beville's first year in 2007 (a year that also ended in a trip to Memorial Day weekend).

The two one-goal losses to Stevenson and Lynchburg in Maryland two weeks ago certainly played a role in the Red Dragons winning narrow contests against both Ithaca (8-7 OT) and Plattsburgh.

"There's no doubt that after playing in those games, you look in the mirror and figure out one or two more plays that could be the difference," Beville said. "When you experience it and go through with it, there's no question it helps you prepare for the next time that you are in a close one. And you have to step up and do a little bit more. Our guys have learned some lessons in regards to that."

Everybody has injuries during the course of the season, but the fact that Cortland was missing senior middie Joe Slavik – a Tewaaraton watch list member – up until the Plattsburgh game can't be ignored. When you're missing a guy like Slavik, who scored his 100th career goal against Cardinals, as the Dragons were during the Maryland swing, it's not absurd to think one of those results might have flipped.

"We obviously missed him and who knows if we had him down in Maryland whether we would have won or not – that's impossible to tell – but he's the heart and soul of the team and has been for a few years," Beville said. "He's our best offensive player. Getting him back was great."

Although an unfamiliar position, being dwarfed by the likes of RIT and Tufts in the North and Stevenson and Cabrini in the South at this point could pay dividends. The Red Dragons are very rarely underdogs, but if everything falls into place after a relatively rough start, they'll once again be a bracket bully.

"We've had more injuries this year than any team I've ever had with people missing practice and games," Beville said. "The weather, of course, has been as bad as it has been, ever. We're 8-3 and our only losses are to the No. 1 and 2 teams and Top 10 Lynchburg, all in close games. We're going to get better and better over the next few weeks here and gain some momentum heading into the SUNY playoffs."

Is This F&M's Year?

It's been 11 years since Franklin & Marshall punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament in 2003. Nearly a decade went by until they cracked the double-digit barrier against in 2012, and last year's 11-6 campaign was just two wins shy the school mark.

While Franklin & Marshall's success is predicated on its defense, senior attackman Billy Kempner is the straw that stirs the Dips drink on offense. "He’s our general," said F&M head coach Todd Cavallaro. "He dictates the pace and keeps the offense running on all cylinders." (John Strohsacker)

Playing in the potent Centennial, they nearly had the punch to grab one of the five at-large bids to the NCAA tournament in '13. With the upward trend of the program, is this the year the Dips break through?

"Every year is different," said F&M head coach Todd Cavallaro, who has been in Lancaster since the '08 season. "Last year, we certainly had opportunities. We played in the conference championship game and had an opportunity to beat Dickinson, but unfortunately we came in second. I think we were in that mix and were talked about, but they selected a great group of teams. Hopefully this year we're in our conference playoffs, first and foremost, and then it is a matter of stringing together a couple of games and winning the conference, and not leaving it up to a deciding factor."

F&M has the schedule to be in the hunt for Pool C, as well, but this year started in very unpromising fashion. The Dips lost to Lynchburg to start the year and then ceded the home opener to York.

"Both are good teams and well coached and exploited some of our weaknesses that we didn't see prior to that," Cavallaro said. "We gained a lot of knowledge and made some adjustments. York certainly exploited us. They did some things on offense that really made the most of every opportunity when we broke down."

The 13-5 setback to York was unsettling because F&M is a program predicated on its defense. With four-year starter Cameron Setian in net and experienced poles such as a seniors Carlos Pelaez and Josh Kanter, the York game remains the only contest in which the Dips have allowed double-digits. F&M has played four tournament teams from last year and none of them have solved Cavallaro's backline.

The offense has not always come along for the ride. In the three losses this spring, F&M has averaged 5.3 points per game, with the high-water mark coming in the 9-6 defeat at the hands of Washington College – currently the odds-on favorite to win the Centennial.

F&M certainly has solid players up front. Senior Billy Kempner is an experienced quarterback while junior Will Ballantyne, who buried seven goals on Saturday against McDaniel, is a proven scorer. Still, it's the defense that will determine how far the Dips go this spring.

"We feel that when our offense is a little slow out of the gates or we are not finishing some of the opportunities that we should, part of our success has been the experience we have shutting some teams down," Cavallaro said.

It's a formula that has been used before in the Centennial with considerable success. At their pinnacles, Gettysburg, Dickinson and Washington College have all used a similar approach. If F&M can use it to win their final five games, starting on Wednesday with a non-conference tilt at Scranton, they will tie the school record for wins and have people reminiscing about 2003.

Lacrosse Magazine's Player of the Week

Kevin Jackson, Fr., A - Roanoke
With the defending ODAC champions looking up at Lynchburg in the polls, the Maroons came out and made a statement, helped by their precocious rookie. Jackson scored five goals, including a hat trick in the second period that gave Roanoke a four-goal lead that it would parlay into a 13-7 victory over the Hornets. The Loyola-Blakefield product is currently tied for the team lead in goals (31) and second in points (42).

Honor Roll
Will Ballantyne (Franklin & Marshall), Nico Belardo (Gwynedd Mercy), John Bohlinger (Mary Washington), Derek Brueske (Concordia), Evan Burns (DeSales), Jamie Campagna (St. John Fisher), Mike Cantelli (Cortland), Brett Carroll (Alfred), Vinny Carson (Baldwin-Wallace), Ryan Coakley (Wentworth), Harrison Cotter (Endicott), Alex Crescenti (Augustana), Sean Cummins (Catholic), Josh Currier (Virginia Wesleyan), Jim Cusick (Washington College), Quentin Dellafera (Wesleyan), David Deschenes (Becker), Matt Diaco (Skidmore), Tyler Downing (Southwestern), Corey Elmer (Cabrini), Brian Gleason (Dickinson), Josh Green (Hanover), Tommy Hovey (St. Lawrence), Colin King (Brockport), Adam Knapton (Western N.E.), Rob Kunz (Potsdam), Steven Laduzinsky (Illinois Wesleyan), Austin Lauzier (Emmanuel), J.D. LeMay (Mitchell), Brock Levick (Medaille), Stephen Licata (Rosemont), Jamie Lilly (York), Martin Manilla (Gettysburg), Ryan McKay (Millsaps), Tyler McKelvie (Keene State), Quinn Moroney (Amherst), Michael Morris (Sewanee), Jon Nessa (Roger Williams), Max Obriecht (Aurora), Andrew Risse (Randolph), Nicky Rodrigo (Regis), Adam Rosenthal (Union), Eric Salrelli (Keuka), Brandon Sewell (Huntingdon), Jordan Shoger (Wittenberg), Adam Shute (New England College), Chris Scott (Neumann), Andrew Senft (Ferrum), Alex Taylor (Salisbury), John Uppgren (Tufts), Tim Urso (Albion), David Walen (Lasell), Will Wise (Bowdoin), Jakob Works (Huntingdon), Dylan Zook (Goucher).

Pool Duty

Pool B
1. Sewanee (8-3)
2. Whittier (6-3)
3. Eastern (8-4)
4. Colorado College (7-4)
5. Centre (8-3)

Pool C
1. Union (9-1)
2. Bowdoin (9-2)
3. York (8-3)
4. Franklin & Marshall (8-3)
5. Plattsburgh (8-3)

Slides & Rides

- The City of Rochester continues to be a house of horrors for Stevens. For the seventh consecutive year – dating back to '08 when the Ducks first joined the Empire 8 – Stevens lost a game in Roc City, this time to St. John Fisher, 7-5. A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that there are some really good teams in the city, as Nazareth and RIT have contributed to the streak. But Fisher is a particular thorn in the Ducks' side, as they've lost all four contests to the Cardinals on the road since joining the league.

- Williams couldn't build on its midweek victory over Tufts, bowing to Wesleyan on goal with 42 seconds left...Roanoke's win keeps them in the hunt for a Pool C bid, but also reinforces the point that there are any number of teams that could come out with the conference AQ....don't look now, but Middlebury is back to .500 after beating Bates. The Panthers have a rescheduled game with Springfield on Wednesday...Bowdoin trailed Conn. College, 8-1, before pulling out a 10-9 victory...Ohio Wesleyan needed two overtimes to subdue Kenyon.

- Keuka established itself as the team to beat in the NEAC after downing Morrisville, 9-5...Cabrini scored 18 goals against Marywood and Corey Elmer factored in on 13 of them (7g, 6a)...Whittier went 2-1 on its trek to the Midwest, losing the opener to Aurora, 9-4, before beating both Illinois Wesleyan (17-9) and Carthage (14-9). At 6-3 and only two games remaining, the Poets are guaranteed to have a winning record and stay eligible for NCAA tournament selection...Sewanee continued to strengthen its spot atop Pool B by dismissing Berry, 15-7...after their midseason stumble to Salisbury and Eastern, York has responded with four-straight wins, including a quality, 10-9 non-conference victory over Ursinus on Saturday.

- Albright junior Phillip Potter dished out the 100th assist of his career, becoming the first player in program history to break the century mark in any category...Medaille's Brock Levick tallied five goals against Cazenovia, pushing him over the 200-goal mark for his career...Rosemont's 13-12 victory over Immaculata was the first-ever CSAC victory for the Ravens.

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